Thursday of the 16th Week of the Year

Matt 13:10-17

The Purpose of Parables


The more important element in the parable of the Sower is not the seed but the soil. The word of God, like the seed, is received by us in many and varied ways – at times totally rejected, at time accepted indifferently. God’s word is powerful but is conditioned by us. We hear the word, but if there’s a little soil, it takes no roots, it dies. A classical example of our Filipino ningas cogon! Even if we accept the word, it will not thrive because of worldly anxiety, the lure of money and the irresistibility of the newest craze. We do not rule out the value of our faith, but we are preoccupied with too many things other than the concern of the Lord.

Towards the end of the first century (the time in Matthew’s gospel was composed) the church was increasing in number but also showing weakness. Christians might be weak but the word is power. By the fourth century even of the 50 million inhabitants of the Roman Empire were Christians. Quite a phenomenal growth!

The concern, however, of the parable is less the number of Christians than our personal response to His invitation. Not all Christians accepted Jesus as he wanted to. As it was then, so also now. Are we any different? We accept the Lord but we do not live Him. There are many good things in this world; the problem is that we prefer them to the Lord. Time was when it was easy to get up early to be on time for holy mass, when we regularly did our visita iglesia during the triduum instead of picnicking in the beach, when we admitted to ourselves: “Lord, I could have done something more for you!” Do not fear! Unlike Lucifer who fell only once then no more, we may fall and rise again. There is inherent power in the word/seed of the Lord which, once possessed and nurtured, will enrich us in our Christian life. (Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


After listening to the parable of the sower, the disciples asked Jesus: “Why do you speak to them in parables?” Jesus categorically tells us why He uses parables, ‘because we look but do not see…we hear but we do not listen or understand.’

I had the chance to be part of St. Jude Catholic School for one year. I could not simple forget two memorable moments –recess and dismissal time! Wait, suspend your judgment. I am not the person who flees from work and simply loves relaxing. The breaks were memorable because those were moments when students (especially little kids) would come to my office and tell me a lot of stories from the most trivial things that happened to them to the most complicated ones. They would tell stories about their crushes, their difficult Chinese subjects, even teachers who had a crush on me. Those were happy moments; I even thought of making my office a center for exchanging stories!

Indeed, the times spent with the kids during breaks were moments of true openness. Moments of openness are moments of God’s living presence.

Today, we open our eyes and ears to the parables of Jesus which lead us to see and understand the values of the Kingdom. How wonderful it is when Jesus speaks to us in parables. He reveals His Father’s kingdom to us and we are supposed to be all ears and eyes so we may see and understand. To listen and understand the parables of Jesus is to allow His message to take root in us. Only then can our lives become a living parable to others, parables that are ready to be told, parables that illustrate the Kingdom in every workplace! (Frt. Aris Martin, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


July 21, 2016 Thursday

There is no one as blind as one who has eyes but refuses to see and no one as deaf as one who has ears but refuses to hear. This may explain the prevalence of poverty, evil, and sin. When people pretend that they do not see or hear, they are showing that they do not want to be involved and may admit powerlessness.

Jesus in today’s gospel reminds us about this human condition and challenges us to improve the situation. The disciples were blessed to know the mysteries of the kingdom. To lead others to conversion– to open people’s eyes and ears – was their mission, as well as the call to those who want to be counted among the people of God.

Pope Francis’ Philippine visit was an “eye-opener.” Jesus told parables; Pope Francis gave examples of mercy and compassion. By his concrete actions, Pope Francis was a parable himself through which the eyes and ears of people were opened, making them return to the Church.

We are challenged then to act more concretely on the issues of poverty, evil, and sin so that others may be enlightened and inspired by what we do. May our lives become parables that will lead others to see, hear, and understand. (Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD CT ManilaBible Diary 2016)


THURSDAY OF THE 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – MATEO 13:10-17. Unsa man ang mga sambingay ni Cristo ug unsa man ang katuyoan niini? Sama sa daghang mga magtutudlo sa iyang panahon, si Jesus nigamit og mga mugbong sugilanon nga maghatag og mga mahinungdanong pagtulon-an para sa kinabuhi sa tawo. Tungod kay nagsumikad kini sa ordinaryong kinabuhi ug panghitabo sa kinaiyahan ug katilingban, dali ra kining masabtan. Gitawag kini sila’g sambingay (parable sa Ingles), nga nagagikan sa Griegong pulong “paraballein” nga nagpasabot og pagtandi. Kon ang mga sambingay dali rang masabtan, nganong wala man masabti sa mga Pariseo ug mga magtutudlo sa Balaod ang mensahe ni Kristo? Kini tungod sa ilang garbo, nga maoy nakadaot sa ilang maayong panabot. Aduna silay mga mata apan dili makakita; aduna silay dalunggan apan dili makadungog. Posted by Abet Uy


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

THURSDAY OF THE 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 13:10-17. UNSA MAN ANG MGA SAMBINGAY? Sama sa daghang mga magtutudlo sa iyang panahon, si Hesus nigamit og mga mugbong sugilanon nga maghatag og mahinungdanong pagtulon-an para sa tawo. Tungod kay nagsumikad kini sa ordinaryong panghitabo sa kinaiyahan ug katilingban, dali ra kining masabtan. Gitawag kini sila’g “sambingay”, sa Ingles “parable”, nga nagagikan sa Griegong pulong “paraballein” nga nagpasabot og pagtandi. Kon ang mga sambingay dali rang masabtan, nganong wala man masabti sa mga Pariseo ug mga magtutudlo sa Balaod ang mensahe ni Kristo? Kini tungod sa ilang garbo ug kagahi’g ulo, nga maoy nakadaot sa ilang maayong panabot. Nindot ang giingon ni Malcolm Muggeridge: “Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us. And the art of life is to get the message.” Posted by Abet Uy


DON’T WASTE YOUR GREATNESS: “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.” – Matthew 13:16

A mother and a baby camel were lying around, and suddenly the baby camel asked, “Mom, may I ask you some questions?”

Mother said, “Sure, son, is something bothering you?”

Baby said, “Why do camels have humps?”

Mother said, “Well son, we are desert animals. We need the humps to store water for our survival.”

Baby said, “OK, then why are our legs long?”

Mother replied, “Son, obviously they are meant for walking in the desert.”

“OK, then why are our eyelashes long?” the baby continued.

With pride, Mother answered, “My son, our long thick eyelashes protect our eyes from sandstorms.” Baby stopped to think then said, “I see. So if the hump is to store water, the legs are for walking through the desert, and these eyelashes protect our eyes, then what in heaven’s name are we doing here at the zoo?”

Funny but this story above challenges us not to put our greatness to waste. God gifted us with so much and He challenges us to be His witnesses to the world. C’mon, it’s showtime! JC Libiran (

Reflection: We are all God’s ambassadors. Are you ready to live this out?

Lord God, may I reflect Your love and greatness through my life. Amen.


1ST READING: We often start out on a journey or task with great enthusiasm. However, when trials come and the enthusiasm begins to wane, then we start to lose heart for the goal. This should never be the case when it comes to service in the Kingdom of God. Working for the salvation of others is enough motivation to give our best at all times. Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13

GOSPEL: It makes sense to entrust more gifts to those who use it and to take away from those who do not bear fruit what little they might have. This is good stewardship, but we have a God who is infinitely generous and, thus, He never gives up on us. He will keep encouraging us to use our gifts well even when we do not respond. However, we should not be surprised if those who respond well get more and more gifts. Matthew 13:10-17

think:  Working for the salvation of others is enough motivation to give our best at all times.


LASTING AWAY OPPORTUNITIES FROM GOD: In the First Reading, the people of God “have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.” This is directly opposite to how the Responsorial Psalm describes Jesus as “the fountain of life.” There is a similar contraposition between opposite poles in the Gospel today: Jesus warns His disciples, “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not even what he has will be taken away.”

Because of this, Jesus justifies His use of parables as His preferred tool for preaching. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, He points out the incapacity or, worse still, the unwillingness of the people to grasp God’s message. Jesus even uses concrete language, in the form of bodily senses (ears for hearing and eyes for seeing) to bring home His point.

And yet, He praises His disciples: “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

We can do well to apply the above words of Christ to ourselves. We can consider ourselves blessed by God, for example, for the many things we learn in our faith and spiritual life. We are fortunate when it comes to our religious and spiritual formation, for we have so many possibilities not readily available to others, like seminars, conferences, retreats, recollections, courses, pilgrimages and so on.

But how much of these have we really availed? Or have we been just content with the minimum possibilities for our faith, like limiting ourselves to a few prayers and Sunday Mass? Might God take away from us the many opportunities and privileges He has bestowed on us because we don’t take advantage of them? Have we become broken cisterns, rather than the fountains of life that God has meant us to be? Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Have you used well the opportunities for spiritual growth that have come your way?

Thank You, Lord, for all people and opportunities that You’ve sent my way to help me grow in loving and following You.


THE WISE USE OF CORE GIFTS – To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. – Matthew 13:12

Will you allow me to boast for the glory of God? I experience financial and spiritual abundance because I believe the Lord has endowed me with gifts in these areas. My finances are invested in the right places and I attribute this to the gift of discernment coming from the Holy Spirit. Because of this, I don’t need to work for money; instead, my money works for me.

Don’t get me wrong — I still work hard. But now I am able to pour my time and energy into using my administrative skills for God’s work.

In the past, these core gifts of management made me wealthy in business. Today, God is using these same gifts as I help Bo Sanchez run his worship services every Sunday, where 16,000 people (and growing) come to experience Jesus. With more than 2,200 volunteers to manage, it isn’t an easy job; but I do the task gratis et amore — free — for the love of God.

Knowing my calling and heeding it drives me to do this. And it has made me one joyful, peaceful person filled with love. Rolly España (

Reflection: God has given us more than enough gifts that we will ever need in our lifetime. Discover and use it wisely.

Father, I offer my life to You. Use me as You see fit.


NOT YOUR BEDTIME STORIES – Churchgoers are happy when the priest begins his homily with a story. It is easier to move from an interesting story to the often difficult content of the Gospel reading. Like today, this Gospel causes a lot of difficulties. I don’t have any story that would lead us to a deeper understanding of the puzzling words of Jesus. It seems that He used parables so that the people would not understand His message, but in reality Jesus told stories and parables so that the simple fishermen and farmers would be able to catch the profound message of His teaching.

Jesus actually did here what Jewish rabbis used to do and still do until now: tell stories. Despite their simplicity, parables can puzzle the listener. A parable leads the listener to reflect and ask: What does it mean? What is the lesson? But there are people who simply enjoy the story without asking these questions, and so they hear but don’t understand.

Jesus told stories that were taken from the everyday life of His listeners, like simple people in rural Galilee. But 2,000 years later, we still read them and realize that there are truths hidden that apply to our present-day situations and problems. Countless books have been written by commentators about the parables, but their meaning has not been exhausted. These simple stories are not nice bedtime stories.

Whenever the Gospel on a Sunday presents one of Jesus’ parables and you would go around as many churches as you like, the priests would give different homilies and present different applications in their homilies. Therefore, it would be good to listen well to Jesus’ parables. It would be good to read them attentively, to reflect and ask ourselves: Lord, what are You telling me today through this story? And what He tells you today might not be the same thing that He would tell you tomorrow because you and your situation have changed. After all, the simple parables are inspired by the Holy Spirit and are channels of God’s guidance for us. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you allow the parables of Jesus to lead you into deeper reflection?

Lord, open my heart to pay more attention to what lies behind the simple words and images that You illustrate through Your parables. Amen.


Fighting the Good Fight of Faith

July 23, 2015 (readings)

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:10-17

The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them. “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, my prayer will “work” only if I have humility in your presence. So I am approaching you with meekness and humility of heart. I have an infinite need for you and your grace. Thinking about this helps me grow in humility. I trust in you and your grace. Thank you for the unfathomable gift of your love.

Petition: Increase my faith, hope and love, Lord.

  1. Faith, Hope and Love Remain:What does the Lord mean when he says that “to anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich” or that “from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away”? He is referring to spiritual goods rather than material ones. Grace, faith, hope and love are all spiritual goods. To anyone who has them, more will be given. When you exercise your faith, your hope and your love, they increase in your soul. The result? You grow rich in grace. When you do not exercise your faith, hope and love, you lose all because the material world is passing away. As St Paul teaches us, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:80). And in another passage: “So faith, hope and love remain” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
  2. Seeing with New Eyes:“You shall indeed hear but not understand; you shall indeed look but never see.” We can view the world in a natural way or in a supernatural way. Faith, hope and love allow us to view the world supernaturally. A natural way of seeing things limits us in a thousand ways, because the natural universe is limited, passing and temporary. The supernatural world seen through faith is unlimited, coming to fulfillment and lasting forever. Without faith we will hear but not understand, look intently but never see.
  3. A Fighting Heart:Only when we fight to imitate Christ do we truly understand these words: “Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.” This may be hard to understand, but it is so. To know Jesus, it is necessary to be like him. The moment we begin to fight for love of him we begin to be like him, and thus we begin to know him. To have a heart like Jesus’ it is necessary to fight and suffer – to fight and suffer without cowardice, without taking time out and without discouragement.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, grant me the grace to fight with a spirit of faith, hope and love. I want to increase in these virtues and begin to see the world with your eyes – the eyes of the new man or woman in Christ. With you my future is always brighter than my past, filled with more hope and greater promise.

Resolution: Today, I will strive to see persons, actions and events from the viewpoint of faith.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reflection for July 23, Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 13:10-17

Reflection: What is the key to unlock the hidden message of the parables of Jesus? The key is to become a follower like the disciples. Many of us do not decipher the hidden message/s of the parable/s for the reason that we don’t faithfully follow.

For example, our every Sunday Holy Mass obligation. We all know that it’s a must for all Catholics to go to Holy Mass every Sunday. So that we could be with Jesus up close and personal. But do we always make ourselves available even for just one hour during Sunday? Sundays are supposed to be the Lord’s Day but do we make it sacred by going to Holy Mass?

Unlike other Christian religions who do not allow their followers to read the bible by themselves. We Catholics are very much encouraged by the church to open our bibles and read it. So that we would discover and know more about Jesus.  But do we still find time to read our bibles?

Once you decide to find time for Jesus. You would also feel that your mind is slowly being opened to the many truths about Jesus and the church which He founded through Saint Peter. Your mind will  also be opened to fully understand the hidden message/s of the parables. You  will not only grow in knowledge about Jesus you will also deepen your personal relationship with Jesus.

Endeavor therefore to always ask Jesus to increase your faith and do your part as well by following the discipline of the church. And see for yourself the many graces that would be showered upon you. Including the grace of understanding the hidden message/s of Jesus’ parables.

Do you still regularly find time for Jesus in the middle of your very hectic schedule? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


BLESSED EYES! BLESSED EARS! “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.” – Matthew 13:16

I started reading the Bible when I was in college. I got the habit from my father. When I was in high school, I saw my father reading the Bible every day. He was so hungry for the Word of God. He bought different versions.

When I was invited to a prayer meeting of the Light of Jesus Family, I listened to the preachings of Bo Sanchez and other preachers. Week after week, I never failed to attend our gatherings and listen attentively to the Word of God preached.

Scripture has influenced my life a lot. It has given me instructions that guided me in my actions and decisions. It has pointed out sins and wrongdoings that I have repented of. It has proclaimed promises that I claimed for my life. Through the Word of God, I have come to know, love and serve Him.

The Lord has opened my eyes and ears to see Him and to hear His voice, to know the truth and to discover His will for my life. By His grace, I am able to share His Word to others, to bless and encourage them, to lift and inspire them, to instruct and to lead them to Jesus.Meann Tee (

Reflection: “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart” (Hebrews 3:15).

Father, open my eyes that I may see Your loving gaze. Open my ears that I may hear Your tender voice.


July 23, 2015

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Ex 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20b, Mt 13:10-17

Blessed Are Your Eyes

The people of Israel were seeing a volcano for the first time. The fierce power of the Mother Nature turned out to be a terrific theophany for them. During their later reflection and reinterpretation the forty years the children of Israel spent roaming around the Arabian Desert was acknowledged as a pilgrimage under the protection and guidance of Yahweh. They firmly believed and were convinced that they survived the hardships of the desert only because of the direct intervention of Yahweh. Indian Sacred Scriptures clearly teaches us: ekam sat vipra behudha vadanti (Reality is one; learned people speak of it differently). What happened to the people of Israel can be interpreted from many points of view. The Biblical or the Jewish view is that it was the mighty hands of Yahweh that led them through the desert to the Promised Land. The conclusions we arrive at and the judgments we make indicate who we are. What we see is what we are. What we say is what we are. It is the color of the glass we wear that gives color to the reality we observe. Butterflies see flowers all around because they feed from them while vultures will be the first to see carcass because they feed on them. If we see God and beauty everywhere, that is an indication of what we feed on and if somebody sees devils and ugliness all around indicates what that person takes pleasure in.

Jesus knew our human weakness. We love stories – a curiosity to know what happened to others. Like a mother Jesus was taking advantage of that human weakness to make people listen to him. Smart mothers make their kids swallow the bitter pills through coating them with sugar. Jesus conveyed his elegant teachings regarding the Kingdom of God enveloped in stories. We know that all seeds are enveloped in hard coatings. Jesus sows his seeds in the hearts of his listeners hoping that one day some of them may sprout. However, there are some extra smart children who throw away the bitter pills after munching the sugar coating. It is in that context Jesus says: “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Happy are those in whom the divine words take deep roots and bear fruits through their actions of love and compassion. Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


Thursday in the 16th Week in the Ordinary Time

Jer 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13; Mt 13: 10-17

Why does Jesus speak in Parables? I will open my mouth and tell stories

Once I asked my Master to have new initiatives and new stories to change the mindset of my congregation. He asked, “Why me?” I said, “Because you are an amazing storyteller and we need you to tell us a new story about what we are”.

This is exactly what Jesus did with the woman at the well. She came to the well at noon because she was a social outcast. Her story was that she was a “fallen woman”. She carried within her into the town’s version of who she was (‘a sinner”). Jesus looked at her and saw her old story was hovering over her, and asked, “Where is your husband?” He talked about her thirst, thirst for fleeting pleasures -that won’t quench her thirst. She carefully listened to Jesus, left her jar (left her old story), filled with the  Holy Spirit (living water), started scripting a new story and became an instrument to script new stories of her fellow human beings.

In psychology and counselling, virtually all therapy involve helping the clients associate new meaning to their old stories; whether it is Gestalt or Rational Emotive therapy . Many types of therapies consist in someone who is listening the clients’ old story and helping him/her find new meaning in it and transform their lives. The  sordid story is rewritten as a pleasant one.

Only when the person has transferred from believing the old story (I am a victim), to believing a new story (that now I am a strong person) does healing really take place.

Jesus listened to the old stories of Peter, Zaccheus, Mary Magdalene, Thomas …and enabled them to script their new stories. And he transformed all of them.

Blessed are your ears because they hear Matt: 13: 16          

There are people who can talk and talk and talk when there are people to listen. They have perfected the art of never taking a breath while speaking because taking a breath might mean that there would be pause in the conversation and someone else might get  a chance to talk and then that would turn into  a conversation rather than a monologue, which most people engage in.

You cannot listen when you have an agenda. You cannot listen when you are just waiting for a pause in the conversation so you can insert your opinion. You cannot listen when you presume to know what the problem is before it has been explored.

Reflective listening takes place when you not only pause and consider what has been said, but also are able to repeat it back accurately to the speaker. Reflexive listening is waiting simply for chance to insert something into a conversation.

Jesus was a man of few words. He listened to people’s stories and enabled them to script new stories. He asked them, “What would you like me to do for you”? He listened for an answer. Jesus knew how to listen and how to transform their hearts.

Prayer is your ability to share your old stories with Jesus who is listening, and who is asking, “What are you looking for” (John 1: 35-41). He will definitely invite you since he is the host and the door of hospitality is opened to you and he would say, “come and share your story”. Then, your mission is to share your new stories to the people as the Samaritan woman and the disciples went and shared, …I have found the Messiah. Fr. Shepherd Thelappilly CMI


July 21, 2016

REFLECTION: In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus say something somewhat shocking because it seems to approve unfair treatment of people. This is what Jesus says: “For the one who has will be given more; and he will have in abundance. But the one who does not have will be deprived even of what he has.“ How can we explain this saying of Jesus?

First, the verbs “will be given…will be deprived” are in the passive voice. And this is a commonly used biblical device to refer to God without naming him out of respect because, at time of Jesus, it was considered irrespectful to refer to God directly by name.

Second, we are talking here of inner dispositions of openness to God’s revelation, however myste­rious it may be. If you are willing to accept whatever God will reveal about himself and about his designs on you, he will give you further understanding. If you are not generously open to whatever God wants to reveal to you, then he will take away the little understanding you have and leave you to your own devices—because God totally respects our human freedom.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 16th Week of the Year

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